Target CIO chosen to rebound from breach

The new Target CIO takes charge with a revamped security plan; plus, a bug wears 3-D glasses and Snapchat's big move, all in this week's Searchlight.

Target is not messing around. The retail giant announced its pick for CIO on Tuesday: heavy hitter Bob DeRodes. How heavy? DeRodes has served as senior information technology advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Justice. He has also worked for Citibank's credit card group and as CIO at Home Depot from 2002 to 2008, where he led a "significant IT transformation," according to the home improvement retailer.

It's the kind of announcement that's required following a highly publicized security debacle: last year's hijacking of nearly 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records larded with customers' personal information. DeRodes replaces Beth Jacob, who resigned in March.

"Establishing a clear path forward for Target following the data breach has been my top priority," said Target Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, adding that DeRodes' "history of leading transformational change positions him well to lead our continued breach responses and guide our long-term digital strategy."

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The kicker? A few days after issuing this statement, Steinhafel was out as well, after 35 years with the company. "Now is the right time for new leadership at Target," he wrote in a letter to Target's board.

The clarion call for CIOs in this announcement? It happens to be what we've been writing about nonstop for this past week: taking on cyberthreats with hybrid security, reshaping CIO responsibilities in the digital future, playing cyberoffense and preparing for a cloud breach.

 Bob DeRodes Bob DeRodes

Target's efforts to strengthen security across its network have include the installation of application whitelisting point-of-sale systems, enhanced segmentation, heightened security of accounts, and reviewing (plus, limiting) vendor access.

DeRodes will oversee the company's technology and security departments starting May 5. Bummed you didn't get the job? Word has it they're still looking for a CISO and a chief compliance officer.

  • A year ago, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Snapchat Inc., alleging the company misleads users by suggesting pictures are permanently removed from Snapchat servers within seconds of viewing -- "self-destructing," if you will. Now it's official: Snapchat photos can exist beyond their 1 to 10 second time limit with the app’s recent update. On Thursday morning, Snapchat users learned -- via a "snap" -- that the company was adding new text messaging and real-time video features to the application. Big question is: Will users abandon other messaging tools to converse within Snapchat? Fast Company and The New York Times Bits blog reported.
  • Another app making big moves: Foursquare. To take on Yelp, CEO Dennis Crowley announced that Foursquare is moving beyond the check-in feature and splitting the app into two. Thursday the company announced Swarm, a "social heat map" that will help users find friends nearby and check in to share their location. Seems Facebook has been developing something similar for years now.

The war between social media platforms is heating up, but that's not all we're talking about this week:

Let us know what you think about the story; email Emily McLaughlin, associate site editor.

Next Steps

Lessons for CIOs from Facebook's "private content"

Crisis management tips from Boston

This was first published in May 2014

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I say, having messaging components in every app is unnecessary. Will these tools catch on, or will users default to their smartphones' messenger apps?

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